ANALYSIS – As the Muslim World vents its fury at a film that they say is offensive to the Prophet and Islam, guess who should come out of the woodwork.
The Satanic Verses propelled what was a little known writer to world attention – alas, it wasn’t what Salman had written that brought this new-found fame, but a death sentence.
The year was 1989, and an ailing Ayatollah Khomeini had attempted to spread the ideas of the Islamic revolution for one last time.
Iran’s standing in the islamic World had suffered because of a long and bloody war with Iraq and this fatwa showed that Muslims could unite behind a single issue, that despite their differences there were things that were sacred.
So, how did that leave the author?
Ordinarily, one would feel considerable sympathy for someone in this predicament.
But nothing Salman did or said endeared him to anyone.
He took an aggressive tone which got more and more entrenched as time went on.
It wouldn’t have hurt him to have said sorry – instead, he spent the better part of his time in captivity appearing on television clearly enjoying his celebrity.
At a time, when the West was openly showing racial hostility to its Asian/black citizens, Salman did not seem to understand that for many Muslims an attack on the Prophet of Islam was one step too far, even in a climate of ‘Paki-bashing’.
As a result of the controversy, Salman became a millionaire, and got many plaudits within his own circle and became a poster child for the racist National Front.
The British taxpayer forked out a million pounds or more for his protection.
He continued to court controversy also – calling Princess Diana’s death a ‘sublimated sexual assault’.
Yet, even today he has not shown the maturity of a grown up.
So, Salman the question remains – why do you find it so difficult to acknowledge someone else’s pain, pain that came from your hands.